Welcome to the inaugural Hot, Not & What?! for the final RAW & Smackdown before we head into Hell in a Cell! We look at the angles, segments and feuds that are leaving us wanting more, wanting to see less, or have us going…WHAT!?
It was announced a few hours before RAW went live that Renee Young would now be a member of the Raw commentary, full time! Renee is by far WWE’s best broadcaster and has been for some time. It is fantastic to see her be rewarded. Well done to WWE for making this change, it brings a new, refreshing spark of life into the RAW announcing team that will only get better as her experience grows. I hope she pulls double duty and still appears on their post PPV panels as any position she steps down from will miss her talent.
WWE Championship & Smackdown Tag Titles
Two very, very different angles. Both solidly entertaining. We’ve now got what will be a fun match between the popular ‘Rusev Daaaayyyyyy’ and the always fantastic ‘New Daayyy’. The latter have perfected putting over all their competition on the mic before going to war and the former whose rise over 2018 could finally result in some championship gold. It would be nice to have Rusev Day get recognition, but at the same time, The New Day holding onto the belts also makes sense, they are the best tag team in the whole division. Fact.
Then on the other side of the park, the very personal feud between AJ Styles & Samoa Joe. They didn’t feature on live TV this week but both had excellent pre-taped promos that aired and added extra excitement for their possible show-stealer on Sunday. Personally, I think this warrants a match inside the cell, not taking anything away from Hardy/Orton, but the WWE have a great story being told with two extremely talented superstars for the WWE Championship. Regardless, this match on Sunday will be …. phenomenal. You see what I did? You see, you see.
Becky Lynch is possibly the most over superstar between both brands at the moment and it doesn’t look like that will be slowing down anytime soon. When WWE didn’t pull the trigger on Lynch winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Summerslam, it felt like they had missed a great opportunity to capitalize on her popularity. Now after attempting to turn her heel and having that backfire, the WWE Universe are behind Lynch more than ever. Garnering reactions that are being likened to Daniel Bryan’s rise. I, like many others, are desperate to see Becky regain the title that she hasn’t held in nearly two years. We’ve seen her put over superstar after superstar; be fingertips away from winning MITB; do battle with James Ellsworth; survive for over 30 minutes in the first women’s Royal Rumble; but never find her way back into the title picture where she deserves to be. Lynch is among the best female wrestlers WWE have, she’s championship material, and it’s time WWE utilise her to her full potential once again.
I like Kevin Owens. A lot. His heel work in 2017 was some of the best. But I honestly have zero idea what is going on at the moment. Whilst it’s a good sign to see his destructive side again and cutting a passionate promo, there’s no story behind it. He quit WWE two weeks ago, his twitter went dark and he was moved to the alumni page on WWE.COM. For what? To attack Lashley’s meditation session because he injured Sami Zayn a few months back. Perhaps he only just realized his friend wasn’t around. Perhaps WWE creative are making it up week by week for KO. Owen’s was able to turn him getting squashed by Strowman continuously, into one of the highlights of the show over the past few months. So I’m hoping this ability of his continues here.
It’s no secret that Shinsuke hasn’t hit his perfect stride since debuting on the main roster last year. He’s had good matches here and there, but even a story with AJ Styles didn’t really seem to hit its full potential. Turning him heel and having the ‘The King of Strong Style’ steal the US title from Hardy in cold blooded, heel fashion was a promising start. But now he’s not even on the HIAC card. Perhaps he’ll feature on the pre-show? But even then, I am a firm believer that a title shouldn’t be defended on the pre-show of a PPV. It just hurts the title and the Champion more than anything. Maybe there’s something lined up for Nakamura but at the moment he doesn’t seem to have a cemented spot on the Tuesday night show. Still, build from nothing. Now is the time to perhaps bring up a babyface against Nakamura. I’m pretty sure Shelton Benjamin or Tye Dillinger aren’t doing anything. Get them both involved. Shelton still has a lot to give, and Tye needs some exposure in the limelight to remind the fans he was one of the most over superstars in the company not too long ago.
RAW Women’s Roster
Ronda Rousey Vs Alexa Bliss is an interesting one for sure although Rousey’s in ring performance still needs work, it looks awkward at times. But the WWE Universe are still behind the feud with Bliss, who manages to turn anything she is involved with into gold. But there is nothing going on with any of the other women on the roster. Mickie James, Natalya and Alicia Fox seem caught up for some reason with Rousey & Bliss. The Riott Squad need something of actual importance to be taken seriously as a heel faction but instead have resorted to high school tactics of vandalizing The Bella’s lockers. Garnering a win over the babyface Bella Twins could have been a good start. It didn’t happen. If heels look weak, then a babyface means nothing, that’s just common sense surely. Sasha & Bayley? Ah forget it.
The SHIELD & The Dogs of War
RAW has every single male championship involved with this feud. On paper this should be the hottest angle going at the moment. But instead it’s a mess! The SHIELD were meant to be these badass “Hounds of Justice”. Now Rollins is scampering to a sheriff to get Corbin arrested. Are they guys who can take on anyone and everyone, or are they guys who go and tell on their acting GM to the local police for filing a fake report? So now Ambrose & Rollins have a match for the Tag Team Titles against Ziggler/McIntyre. That could be a good match. But it’s just surrounded by this strange confusion of what the SHIELD are. Are they good guys, bad guys, they don’t care what they are guys? It just seems to jump and change so frequently. It’s not clear who we are meant to be behind here. Surely Braun is being screwed over, by not being allowed to cash in when he wanted to, but he’s the heel? At the start of the show, The SHIELD came out and took out every single heel on the roster with ease, resulting in all the heels looking week. Don’t forget the axe handles… Braun Strowman RETREATED up the ramp. Then he went around backstage beating people up because he wanted to find Roman Reigns to beat HIM up. WHAT!? The Strowman character appears to be a bit lost all of a sudden. He was doing good comedic, monster work with Owens recently. Then he turned from face to apparent heel when he aligned with Ziggler & McIntyre.
Every outcome on Sunday leaves me thinking…what next? The idea is to create intrigue for a PPV, not create a sense of “where is this going and why?”…
Do you agree with what I said, do you think I was talking out of my ass? Let me know, or don’t. I’m just going to keep typing away anyway.